Tag Archive for Santa Rosa

Ignoring road rage in Santa Rosa, San Diego cyclists targeted, and LAPD accused of beating bike rider

Talk about the charges not fitting the crime.

A Santa Rosa driver identified as 22-year old Matthew Dewayne Hamilton is under arrest on a felony hit-and-run charge for what police describe as an accidental collision stemming from a roadway dispute.

According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Hamilton barely missed hitting a cyclist, who responded by yelling at him. So Hamilton backed up to continue the argument, colliding with the rider in the process.


It evidently wasn’t assault with a deadly weapon from their windshield perspective, even though the rider, who has not been publicly identified, suffered several broken bones, as well as internal injuries. And even though they themselves describe it as a road rage incident, police insist the driver just wanted to chat, if angrily.

Of course.

Then, realizing his error after plowing into the rider with enough force to cause significant injuries, Hamilton stomped on the gas and fled the scene, abandoning his car nearby. He was arrested while walking through the area.

You know, just another hit-and-run. Not a violent criminal fleeing the scene of his rage-fueled attack.

It’s all in how you look at it, evidently.

Then again, according to the police report, it was the car that was in control of Hamilton at the time of the collision, rather than the other way around.

Thanks to @murphstahoe for the heads-up.


San Diego cyclists are being targeted by jerks with a pellet gun.

The city’s 10News says police are investigating confirmed attacks in the La Jolla and Mount Soledad areas, as well as possible attacks in the Fiesta Island and Torrey Pines areas.

One woman suffered serious road rash when a pellet penetrated her shoulder and knocked her off her bike.

Police are looking for three men in a black sedan on possible felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

At least San Diego police get the charges right. Although I might argue for a domestic terrorism count.


San Diego police are also looking for tips in last year’s shooting death of 19-year old bike rider Joseph Hutchins in the City Heights neighborhood. Hutchins was killed the day after his 19th birthday.

A successful tip could earn a reward of up to $1000.

Yeah, that’ll motivate someone.


A Los Angeles man claims police beat the crap out of him for riding without lights.

According to KCBS-2/KCAL-9, Brian Cisneros was riding to work at the Ralphs market in Marina del Rey last Friday when he was stopped by two LAPD officers at the intersection of Ida and Redwood Avenues.

According to Cisneros, the officers exited their car with guns drawn and attacked him in a brutal assault that included choking, stomping and throwing him onto the hood of their car, despite his lack of resistance.

Then left him there with a ticket for not having lights while riding after dark.

Clearly, something violent happened.

Cisneros, who says he thought he was going to die, was treated for a dislocated shoulder and a fractured elbow, among other injuries. And looks like someone who took a serious beating in the photos that accompany the report.

But something tells me there’s more to the story.


Manhattan Beach Patch offers the most detailed report yet on Manhattan Beach school board member Bill Fournell, the bike rider violently assaulted in an apparent attempt to steal his bike on the Ballona Creek bike path on July 19th.

The attack took place around 6 pm, one of the busiest periods on the pathway, as bike commuters use it as a virtual bike freeway connecting Culver City with the coast.

Fournell suffered a broken collarbone, broken ribs and punctured lungs, requiring a five-day stay in the hospital, after one of the assailants threw a bike at his front wheel, then struggled with him for possession of his Litespeed bike.

And Patch finally gives us a location for the attack, saying he was assaulted by three juveniles on the bikeway between the Higuera and Dusquesne bridges.

As others have pointed out, the east end of the bike path is far less used than the western sections. Anytime you ride in a secluded area, out of view of the public or other riders, you need to be alert to your surroundings and any possible risks.

Although three kids with a bicycle on a bike path wouldn’t necessarily look threatening or out of place.


The LACBC reports the bike plan currently under development by the City of Carson has been watered down in the face of pushback from a pair of large local businesses.

The city’s Watson Land Company has argued that putting bike lanes next to the traffic lanes used by heavy trucks would increase the danger to bike riders.

Maybe someone should tell them that their self-proclaimed commitment to sustainability and philanthropy should extend to our streets.

Never mind that anyone wanting to ride through the city under current conditions already has to share those traffic lanes with those same trucks. And that the studies I’ve seen say bike lanes improve safety for everyone on the road.

Speaking for myself, I’d much rather ride beside a massive truck than in the lane in front of one.

No, far better to maintain the conditions that have already resulted in the death of a bike rider earlier this summer.

At least I can understand, if not accept, where they’re coming from in their desire to maintain the heavy truck hegemony over Carson’s streets.

Far harder to understand is the opposition from the StubHub (nee Home Depot) Center, home to the region’s leading velodrome. You’d think that an athletic center that features indoor bicycling events — including the upcoming USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships — would appreciate the desire of outdoor bicyclists to get there without getting killed.

But evidently, it’s inconceivable to them that bike racing fans, or their other patrons, might actually want to ride a bike there. Or maybe they just want to ensure that people continue drive to maintain that parking revenue.

The LACBC asks you to take action to preserve the Carson bike plan.

Take Action: Tell Carson City Council to preserve the Master Plan of Bikeways’ original intent of having a cycle-track on Albertoni and University, and preserving the proposed bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington.

If you cannot make the meeting on August 6 at 6 p.m., please call Mayor Dear at 310-952-1700 ext 1000 and email the rest of council at:


I’d suggest taking it a step further.

And let the StubHub Center know it’s not acceptable for a bicycling venue to needlessly risk the lives of their bike riding patrons.


Finally, Apple has evidently decided that American drivers aren’t distracted enough, and wants to incorporate iPhone functions — including texting and email — into car dashboards by the end of this year.

Which means you may be able to thank Steve Job’s successors for the distracted driver who runs you off the road next year.

If you’re still capable of thanking anyone.

Update: Cyclist killed Saturday on 405 on-ramp, another critically injured in Hollywood Hills hit-and-run

It’s been a horrible few days for California cyclists.

In the latest bad news, a man was killed while walking a bicycle on the transition between the westbound Marina (90) Freeway and the northbound 405.

According to the Culver City Patch, police in Culver City began receiving reports of a man pushing a bike along the freeway sometime around 10 pm Saturday. CHP officers responded to news of the collision at 10:03; the rider, who has not yet been publicly identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The report does not say if the driver remained at the collision site.

Just to be clear, cyclists are not allowed on most freeways in Southern California, whether riding or walking their bikes. There would appear to be no legitimate reason why he should have been on the transition ramp.

This is the 29th cycling-related fatality in Southern California this year, and the 9th in Los Angeles County; it’s also the 9th fatality in the seven county SoCal region in the very bloody, tragic month of June.

Update: Patch reports that the victim has been identified as 51-year old Los Angeles resident Joe William McKinney.

According to the report, a 43-year old woman was driving at 25 mph in the #2 lane when McKinney stepped in front of her Volvo for unknown reasons — which would make her one of the few drivers who travel that transition at anything even closely resembling the speed limit.

She clearly stayed at the scene. And there’s no explanation as yet why McKinney was walking his bike onto the 405.


In more bad news, Hollywood Patch reports that a cyclist suffered severe head trauma in a Hollywood Hills hit-and-run late Friday afternoon.

The 55-year old cyclist, who has not been publicly identified, was riding south on the 2700 block of Outpost Drive, just south of Mulholland and a few blocks from Runyon Canyon Park, around 4 pm when he was hit by a vehicle described only as an orange Jeep Cherokee.

Police are looking for security camera footage that may have captured the collision. Other news stories say the rider remains in critical condition with major injuries.

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD West Traffic Division at 213/473-0234 or 877/527-3247.


A 42-year old La Mesa cyclist was killed Saturday in the Fresno-area Climb to Kaiser; a 155 mile ride rated at one of the most challenging in the U.S.

Nicola Grossi was riding a steep descent when he lost control of his bike rounding a curve, flew off an embankment and hit a tree roughly 10 feet off the road. Two passing cyclists performed CPR for about 20 minutes before paramedics arrived.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that he was a relatively recent convert to cycling, losing over 100 pounds in the last two years as he biked to work and took long highway rides.

Grossi leaves behind a wife, daughter and three step-children. San Diego’s KGTV-10 quotes his wife saying what could be said for almost an of us.

“Right now, all I can do is hold onto the fact that he died doing what he loves,” said Grossi’s wife, Jennifer Silverman-Grossi. “I mean, there is nothing in this world that he loved more than being on that bike.”

This is the second fatality in the ride’s 36-year history; a British rider was hit and killed by a pickup while riding on the wrong side of the same road in 2003.


Finally, a rising New Zealand professional cyclist received a rude welcome to American on Friday, when he was critically injured by a hit-and-run driver.

Pure Black Racing rider Michael Torckler was training by himself in California following Canada’s Tour de Beauce when the 26-year old rider was run down by a hit-and-run driver in the Alexander Valley near Santa Rosa.

Torckler was riding downhill at a high rate of speed when he was hit head-on by accused drunk driver Arthur Ben Yun of Rohnert Park.

Yun, who was turned in by a passenger in the allegedly stolen car he was driving, is charged with driving under the influence, hit-and-run, auto theft and driving on a suspended license. He reportedly has an extensive, but undisclosed, criminal history.

Despite suffering 20 facial bone fractures, Torckler has been upgraded to fair condition; his doctors say his face took the brunt of the impact, sparing his brain from damage. His family has flown in from New Zealand to be with him.

Thanks to the Trickster for the heads-up.


My prayers for Torckler, Grossi, and the unidentified riders.

And let’s be careful out there; the period around the 4th of July is usually one of the most dangerous times for bicyclists throughout Southern California.

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